By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
Scores of residents of Osun state on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest against the judgment given by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja last week Friday.
The protesters majority of who were youths stormed Osogbo, the capital of Osun state in their numbers and caused serious gridlock within major roads.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions such as ” Oyetola remained our Governor”, We voted for Governor Oyetola “, We cannot be intimidated”, among others, the demonstrators said they will not rest until true justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings.
Speaking with our correspondent, Yaya Ademola, General Secretary, Osun Concerned Citizens said the protest becomes imperative following what they observed as lacuna in the ruling of Election Petition Tribunal which declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of PDP the authentic winner of the Sep 22, 2018, gubernatorial election.
Ademola who expressed optimism that the Court of Appeal would definitely Overturn the judgment given by the tribunal said Osun electorate have spoken through their majority votes, promising that any attempt to obstruct their votes shall be resisted.
Ademola said: “The said verdict, which is a split decision by which a majority of 2 of the 3 member Panel, purportedly declared Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)as winner of the September, 22 and 29, 2018 Governorship Election is clearly unacceptable to us and the overwhelming majority of the people of Osun in general and the Electorate in particular.
“Our concern in this matter is not just a partisan disavowal of a judgment that is unfavourable to our preferred candidate, Mr. Isiaka Gbeyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Party. Our rejection of the said verdict is borne out of the clear fact that it is a thinly disguised attempt at clothing the product of a black-market judicial heist with the garb of legality in the hope that it may acquire legitimacy.
Notwithstanding the fact that a proper legal response to this unjust verdict has been entered at the Court of Appeal, we hasten to say that the basis with which the majority judgement was made is strange and baseless.
“In the first instance, the claim of the majority judgement to declare that the 29/09/2018 rerun illegal, on the basis that only Polling Officer and not Returning Officer could cancel results in the 7 Polling Units across the 3 Local Governments in the rerun does not arise. Neither the Polling Officer nor Returning Officerb cancelled elections in the affected areas. Elections didn’t take place. Where it did, it was disrupted with ballot boxes snatched and carted away with no returns.
“In Orolu, Ife South and Ife North, elections were disrupted with no returns. In Unit 017, Ward 5 , Osogbo LG, election did not hold at all and no returns. Under this circumstance, it is a settled case at the Supreme Court in James Faleke vs INEC (2016),that where the difference between the two leading candidates will be determined by the votes of places where elections didn’t hold or disrupted, there will be rerun.
“This situation is not peculiar to Osun. Below are some examples of rerun:
a. 2011 Anambra Senatorial Election between leading APGA and ACN with a margin of 697 against the cancelled 7,930 votes. b. 2013 Anambra Guber Election between leading APGA and PDP with a margin of 79,754 against 113,113 cancelled votes. c. 2015 Imo Guber Election between leading APC and PDP with a margin of 79,529 against cancelled votes of 144,715.
“2015 Bayelsa Guber Election between leading PDP and APC with a margin of 33,154 against 120,000 cancelled votes.
e. 2015 Guber Election between leading leading APC and PDP with a margin of 41,353 and 49,953 cancelled votes.
“Again, the Petitioner didn’t prove that election took place or there were returns in the affected areas. He did not even plead that the rerun is illegal. When has Court become a father Charistmas who gives what was not prayed for to declare the rerun illegal?
“Again, how could the Majority of 2 out of 3 deduct votes in 23 units merely for the fact that INEC did not properly fill Form EC8A? How could 23 units of the entire 3,010 could be substantial enough, assuming it is non-compliance with electoral rule for Judges to alter votes of the people moreso, when the Petitioner didn’t demand for it? If it is substantial enough, would it not make better sense to pronounce rerun in the 23 units instead of the algebra, subtraction and addition with which the majority 2 turned themselves?
“We are concerned and indeed alarmed that rather than adjudicate in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Electoral Act that emphasises Substantial Compliance or lack of it or want of it as the basis for proving the validity or otherwise of the election of a candidate, the majority decision of the Tribunal arbitrarily pitched its tent with the formal irregularity of the failure of INEC to fill certain columns of the Result Sheets even when they do not affect the number of votes scored by candidates! This amounts to a disingenuous working to a predetermined answer.
“Under Civil Rule, Electorate votes determine who governs the State and it is by simple majority. Election Tribunal cannot substitute itself for the electorate role – vis-a-vis voting.
“Osun Concerned Citizens stand for Democracy and Justice. We firmly believe that the Electorate in Osun had spoken and the attempt by the majority decision to turn the Tribunal into a ‘’Selectotate’’ shall be resisted.
“We shall not rest until true Justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings.
“No to Jankara Justice! Osun electorate have spoken through their majority votes!! Attempts to obstruct our votes shall be vehemently resisted.”
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